Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Papa's Birthday

August and September are filled with birthdays for our family.  Today is my dad's birthday.  We stopped this evening for a visit.
Papa & Kids
We also got to have some ice cream cake from DQ.  It was a rushed visit because everyone had homework, dinner, and Meg's basketball practice.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Today's the last day to enter my give away.  You have until midnight EST.  I'll announce two winners tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jewelry

At Activity Days Mattey and the rest of the girls worked on bracelets.  Mat needed a little help with hers so she finished it at home.
Mattey's Bracelet
She said this bracelet is to remind her to be happy.  Let's hope it works.


Monday, August 29, 2011

My Birthday

Today was filled with yummy food, time with my best friend, and then time with family.

This is what I had for breakfast.  I highly recommend them.  Next time I think I'll try the cream cheese glaze.  I ate two and was full for over 4 hours.  That's amazing.  I'm also thinking next time I make them I'll use applesauce for the melted butter and maybe I'll add some apple chunks too.  Doesn't that sound good?  I'd use regular maple syrup with that.

For lunch I had Chili's Quesadilla Explosion Salad.  Love it.  I know I can make it at home but it's much better when someone else makes it, without cilantro.  This year I asked for their newer Honey Lime dressing from a different salad.  It was delish.  I will have to find a recipe for that.

Then for dinner I made Hawaiian Haystack.  Yum.  And I had treat for fhe so I made blueberry crisp.  My parents came over for dinner and brought me some flowers.
Birthday Flowers
Photo by Mickey
My best present of the day was from Mickey.  He took the day off of work to spend with me.  The time went by way to fast but I enjoyed every minute.  His time is very valuable these days so I think his gift had be worth a few thousand dollars, at least.

Don't forget about the give away.  Two more days to wish me Happy Birthday before the drawing.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A New Way to Read a Book

At our library we can get audio books put on our iPods/Pad.  They have a very limited selection and have told us a few times about another service we could use to download books, both audio and e-book.  I finally got around to trying it.  It was a little weird but I figured it out.  It's called Overdrive.  You can get it as an app (it's free!) which makes it very easy to use.  And there are no late fees.  The books just disappear from your iGadget.

Recently I've been reading Kade's bedtime story and I've used the iPad as the book.  We've read "My Teacher is an Alien", "A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee", and we read this one tonight.
Books on iPad
My only complaints are that there are lots of typos and you can't return the books before they expire.  If you can, I haven't figured it out yet.  Otherwise I totally recommend Overdrive. 

I mentioned the other day to come back today because I was going to do a give away.  Tomorrow is my birthday.  I don't always enjoy my birthday.  So I'm asking all my readers, even you lurkers, to leave me a birthday wish/greeting (in the comments) and you will be entered in a drawing for a $10 iTunes card.  Even better there will be two winners.  (Only one entry per person.)
iTunes Cards
 The deadline is August 31st at midnight, EST.  I will announce the winners on September 1st.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Country Fair

Tonight we went to church for the Country Fair.  It was so fun last year that we decided to invite our friends, the Stones, to come with us.  Because they love us so much, and everything was free, they couldn't pass on the invite.

There were a few differences this year but, I think, for the better.  They had a bounce obstacle course, snow cones instead of home made ice cream, s'mores, and my favorite cotton candy.  I waited in line for 20 minutes to get it.  So worth it but wish I could have had more.

I few pictures from the event.  (I only got one picture of Meg and it wasn't good.  Sorry, Meg.)
Hay Ride 
The hay ride.
Balloon Twisting 
A new twister?
Face Painting
Kade wanted to be a zombie.  The girl did a good job making him scary looking.  He even freaked out his friend Noah and a few adults.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Understanding of a Six Year Old

This morning I went for a bike ride.  It was lovely outside.  I came back home and stretched for a while.  Then I was hungry.  I went to the fridge for a yogurt.  You know what I saw there?  A forgotten lunch.
The Forgotten Lunch
Here it is the second day of school and a lunch has already been forgotten.  I immediately called Kade's school to find out when the 1st graders eat lunch.  I was told 11:00.  It was 11:10.  The secretary assured me that Kade would not go hungry.  He would be given something to eat.  I said I was only 5 minutes away and could bring his lunch.  She gave me the number to the cafeteria so I could ask if he'd been through the line yet.  I called.  No one answered.  I decided it was too late and he'd be alright.

When I picked Kade up this afternoon I asked him about lunch.  He said he forgot his lunch box and that he had a chicken patty.  I thought he would have been given a pb&j.  Huh?  I asked him if the lunch lady gave it to him.  He replied no, that he bought his lunch.  I then asked him how he bought his lunch since he didn't have any money.  He responded, "Oh, I just put in my number and I bought lunch."  I told him there was no money in his account so he shouldn't have gotten a lunch.  "Well, when I put my number in it makes money."  Wouldn't that be nice?

I tried to explain to him that we will pay for the lunch next week.  I don't want him to think he can get everything for free.  Although around here he seems to get whatever he wants, whenever he wants.  Maybe we need to work on that.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

The First Day

I woke up at 5:50 a.m., without an alarm.  That is something I never do.  I must have been excited for the first day of school.  I don't think the kids were as excited as me, but pretty close.

They all posed on the porch for me this morning.
First Day 2011 First Day 2011 First Day 2011
Some day I'll learn how to use Photo Shop (That is on my to do list.) and put all three pictures in one.  

The kids all had a good day.  Thank goodness.  (The beginning of the day at Kade's school was a mad house.  Somehow they worked it out.) They all seem to like their teachers.  Hopefully it will continue throughout the rest of the year.

Wondering what I did today?  After taking Kade to school and dropping a movie off at the library I went back to bed.  I must have been tired because I slept for 2 hours.  Good thing I set an alarm or I might have slept longer and missed the whole day.  Then I exercised and showered and did some light cleaning and it was time to get Kade.  Then we got the girls and went to DQ for a first day of school treat.  Maybe that will be our new tradition.  (I was nice and saved half of my blizzard for Mickey since he was stuck at work.)  I'm sure I'll be more productive tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Night Before School

All week we've been slowly getting supplies put together for the kids to take to school.  They decided to dump out their bags and make sure everything was in there that they needed.
Night Before School
Tonight we went to the girls' school for an open house (where I forgot to take a picture).  This was good because Mattey has been rather apprehensive about going to the intermediate school.  She got to meet her teacher, practice opening her locker lock, and just look around.  Then we had to take a tour of all of Meg's teachers.  That was a lot of walking and waiting.  I'm so glad that this school has an open house.  

Monday night we thought we were going to a meet and greet at Kade's school.  He was really looking forward to meeting his teacher.  (I was too because I don't know any of the 1st grade teachers.)  We got there and found out no teachers were in the building.  It was a "Classroom Find" night.  What?  (The misunderstanding was partly my fault because I didn't read the entire newsletter.)  We were told to look for Kade's name on a list of students and it would say what teacher he has and what room she's in.  We, especially Kade, were not happy to find out that that's all we got to do.  His room is right next door to his Kindergarten class.  Big deal.  The principal was quick to inform us that there was an open house scheduled for Sept. 6th so we could meet the teacher.  Really?  That's almost 2 weeks after school's started.  Why can't they have an open house like a lot of the other schools in the school corp?  Mickey and I thought this was so -I almost never use this word but it so applies here- S.T.U.P.I.D.  It was a total waste of time.  We were in the school for less than 5 minutes.  (Insert frustrated scream here.)

Make sure you check back Sunday.  I'll be announcing a give away.  Sounds like fun, huh?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Youth Activity

Tonight we had the youth from church over for a Back to School Cookout.  There was lots of good food and I didn't have to do anything! (That's not totally true.  I made sure the house was clean and the kids did most of that!)  The youth also had an opportunity to just have down time with each other.  At one point there were about 7 people on the trampoline.  Scary.  They also played a game or two.  I think every one had a good time.  We'll have to do it again.

Megan invited two of her friends to the cookout, Julie and Jack.
Youth Activity
The nice part about having Jack over is Kade got to go to Jack's house to play with Noah.  I love to swap kids.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lunch Made Easy

I'm hoping it's at least lunch made easier.

I was reading Becky Higgins' blog the other day and she shared a brilliant idea on how she makes packing school lunches super easy.  (Scroll down to #9.)  This brilliant idea inspired me to do something similar.
Lunch Made Easy
I wish I had a drawer available but a shelf in the pantry will have to do.  I may need to add another bin.  On the bright side I did have to clean the shelf before putting the lunch items in the pantry.  (I hate to admit it, but I've not yet organized the pantry.  It's actually a little scary in there.  I had to throw out several things that were past the expiration date.  Yikes.)  Wednesday night  I will bag some chips and pretzels for the kids to choose from too.  

Now I just need to come up with a way to keep the kids from grabbing snacks from this shelf.  I'm thinking a loud recording hooked up to a motion detector warning them of the possible punishment they will receive for taking lunch items for snacks.  Or how about a laser grid that can only be turned off with a code that only Mickey and I would know?  Can anyone hook that up for me? 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Roasted Potatoes

Yesterday Mickey and I went to the store for some groceries.  I was bouncing dinner ideas off of him.  Since it was supposed to be a little cooler I was thinking of roasting a chicken.  I asked him what he wanted to go with it.  We decided on potatoes and fresh green beans.  I wanted the little red ones.  I looked but couldn't find them.  But I did find some little yellow ones.  I thought I'd give them a try.  I was thinking of frying them but went with the roasting method instead.

I did a little search on line and liked the first recipe I looked at.  I did leave out the garlic though.  I thought the potatoes were pretty good.  And I am not a potato lover.  The golden flesh was a nice treat visually.
Roasted Yellow Potatoes
My picture is no where near as good as the one that goes with the recipe but this will give you an idea.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Repurposing

Meg is in need of a new desk.  Her old one has seen better days.  We have been looking around trying to find her a desk.  There are some nice ones out there if you really want to spend the money.  I'd rather not since she'll probably have it wrecked in a year or two.  So what else can we do? There is a large, old desk in the basement that didn't have a home in the new house.  I thought about it.  I wondered if we could take the big desk, remove some parts, cut down others, and get a smaller desk that would fit in Meg's room.  I mentioned it to Mickey and Meg.  Well, she started bugging Mickey about it and he found some time today to see what he could do.
Repurposing
He made it work.  I would like to put a shelf for a bin in the compartment with the door since there isn't a drawer.  That shouldn't be a problem.  Meg was happy with how it turned out.  Now we just need to get it up to her room, unless she wants me to paint it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pet Shopping?

While we were in TN we stopped in a store that sold hermit crabs.  The kids thought they were so cool.  Of course, they all wanted one.  Really?  We told the kids we'd think about it.  Mickey and I came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be awful but that we'd wait until we got home to get them.  They'd probably die on the drive home.  That would have been a total waste of money.

So today we took the kids to a few pet stores to look around.  I'm not against having a pet but I don't want to be the sole care giver.  I told Mickey I would be alright with a lizard if that was alright with him.  Meg has been begging for a Leopard Gecko for a while now.  We saw some and she got all excited.  But the rest of us thought these guys were cute.
Baby Bearded Dragons
Don't you think these baby Bearded Dragons are darling?  They were running all around and some would follow us.  They had such fun personalities.  But then they grow up to look like this.
Adult Bearded Dragon
Which isn't bad, it still had a fun personality.  We got to witness an employee feeding it live crickets and it kind of grossed me out.  I announced right then and there that I would not be doing that bit of care giving.

As for getting a pet...the jury is still out.  More research needs to be done.  The parents need proof from the kidlings that they can be responsible for more than themselves.  Most days that proof is not evident.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Last Day of Mountains

When we checked into our condo we received a free zip line tour.  Mickey couldn't pass that up.  He got an appt. for an hour after we checked out.  He really enjoyed the tour.  Here he is on one of the platforms waiting his turn to ride the zip line.  (Still a bad picture.)
Zip Line Tour 
While he was doing that the kids and I went to the outlet mall to look for school clothes.  We stumbled on a great deal at Old Navy, jeans for $10.  Can't beat that.

After shopping we went to pick Mickey up at the zip line place and got to witness him going down one of the lines.  Unfortunately he had the camera in his pocket.  Don't worry, there was a professional photographer on site and they got a great shot of him but we have to pay for it, of course.

Then it was time to go home.  We planned on driving half of the way and staying the night in a hotel but we ended up making it all the way home.

So long, Smoky Mountains.  We had a very nice stay.  We hope to see you again soon.
So Long Mountains

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

WONDERWORKS

Many years ago when Mickey and I had traveled to Florida we saw a weird building.  It was upside down and had the name Ripley on it.  We didn't stop to check it out.  Pigeon Forge had the same, or at least similar, building.
Wonderworks 
At the front desk of the condo place we found a flier with the building on it.  After reading the flier we knew we had to go to the strange building.  It was called WONDERWORKS.

This was the most fun hands on place we have ever been to.  (We still hadn't realized the wrong setting on the camera so we still have bad quality pictures.  I won't bore you with most of them.)  Once inside the building we entered through a tunnel that made you feel like you were turning upside down before entering the exhibits.  It was really weird.

Some of the exhibits we enjoyed were the rope challenge course (it was suspended 2-4 floors above the ground), experiencing hurricane force winds, pitching to MLB players, the Space Zone, the gallery of optical illusions, laying on a bed of nails,
Bed of Nails
making enormous bubble,
Making Bubbles
and playing mind ball.  You actually move the ball with your mind.  The kids beat the parents at that.  It was all about who could be the most calm.  I don't know how Mattey and Kade both won.  They are rarely calm.

We really enjoyed WONDERWORKS and highly recommend it if you are anywhere near one.

In the afternoon we packed a cooler full of food and went back to the park.  
Hiking
We hiked up to Laurel Falls.  It wasn't as exciting as we thought it would be but what can you do?
Laural Falls
After the hike we went back to the spot where we played in the creek on Sunday.  We picnicked there and splashed around some more.  This time we went prepared to get wet and the water was freezing.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

NASCAR

None of us are really NASCAR fans but when there is an amusement park right by the condo and y'all can drive go-carts you don't pass it up.  Some of the reviews for the place were not good but we decided to give it a try.  (Again we have bad pictures due to the wrong camera setting.)
NASCAR
We started with the rock climbing wall.
Rock Climbing Rock Climbing Rock Climbing Rock Climbing
Then the racing began.
Racing
The go-carts weren't the only rides.  There was a small roller coaster that Kade rode about 10 times.  There were bumper boats, but a few didn't work well.  We stayed for two and a half hours before getting grumpy.  Then it was dinner time.

We decided to try Fuddruckers since we had a coupon.  It did have very good burgers and shakes. I had the turkey burger.  It was probably the best I've ever had.  Kade made sure he had plenty of pickles on his burger.
Burger Fixings

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ripley's Aquarium

When we go away most of us enjoy viewing animals of some sort.  The rest of the family just deals with it.  We decided to visit an aquarium instead of a zoo.  It's all indoors which can help with the complaining that's sure to happen and they're rarely as big as a zoo.

The Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies is pretty nice.  There is a large see through tunnel you can walk through that's under the fish, including sharks and saw fish.  We started above the tunnel looking at schools of fish.  (You'll have to forgive the not so great pictures.  Somehow the camera settings got changed without our knowing.)
Fish Watching
At the Aquarium
Right before this picture we saw a diver in the tank with the fish.  We missed the demonstration but enjoyed the fish none the less.

The Jellies are always mesmerizing.
Jellies
In the discovery center there were some hands on things.  Have you ever seen or petted a Horseshoe Crab?  
Horseshoe Crab Touching a Horseshoe Crab
Mattey would only touch it with Mickey's help.  Kade went a different direction in the Discovery area.  He thought it would be interesting to see what it was like to be underwater with the fish.
Is he underwater?
One of the last things we saw before leaving was the penguin exhibit.  These creatures are fun to watch.  Some of them would come up to the glass and watch us the same way we were watching them.
Penguin Joe
After the aquarium we walked around Gatlinburg for a while.  For dinner we ate at Big Daddy's Pizzeria.  The pizza was really good.  Then we ordered churros for dessert.  They were a little over cooked (burnt from the fire) but the sweetened ricotta cheese dip was yummy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Smoky Mountain National Park

While on vacation, I hate to admit it, we rarely go to church.  This time we made an exception.  Mickey thought it would be nice to visit the ward in Sevierville.  I will be nice and just say it was different and....interesting, yes, I think that's a good word.

Afterwards we headed to the Smoky Mountain National Park.  I don't think there are many better ways to spend a Sabbath than by admiring God's creations.

The park was gorgeous.  I loved the green.  It was everywhere.  There was a lovely creek that flows along one of the main roads.  I don't know the name of it (Dad, help me out here.) but here's what it looks like at one of the pull off sites.
Creek in SMNP
Beautiful, right?  At a different location we got out to play in and explore the creek.  Everyone but me got wetter than they planned.  That's so typical.  I did pose for a picture there.  (It's one of two taken of me that day.  That's quite amazing.)
Kelly @ creek
After playing in the water we drove up to Cades Cove.  This is a place where wild life are supposed to be prevalent. 
Cades Cove
We did see several deer and some black bears.  At one point on the scenic loop there were three little bear cubs.  Surprisingly we never saw a mama bear.  They stopped traffic for a while.  I wish I would have gotten out of the van like all the other people and got a picture.  You'll just have to imagine it.  The bears finally ran off, it was dinner time after all, and the cars in front of us started moving.  Then we came to a pull off and just had to get out.  I think the Rockies are beautiful but the Smokies are beautiful in a different way.  They seem to have more life with all the trees.
The Smokies @ Cades Cove I The Smokies @ Cades Cove II
A woman was nice enough to take our family picture.  Too bad we didn't coordinate our outfits a little better.  It could have been our Christmas card picture.
Family at Smoky Mnt. Nat. Park
We eventually left the park.  But before we did Kade had to water a tree for the second time.  I got a shot of this from behind.  When he saw the picture he said, "Delete that right now!"  I didn't but to be nice I won't post it.  

I have something better.  A sunset over the Smokies.
Sunset @ the Smokies

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Last Hurrah of Summer

With school starting soon we thought we needed an adventure to end the summer.  So we packed up the van and left.
Last Hurrah
We did have a destination in mind.  The Smokies in Tennessee.  It took us a little over 8 hours to get there.  Not too bad.  This is what we drove to.  It was so green.
Driving to the Smokies
We didn't stay in a cabin, but that would have been nice.  If it was up to my snobbish standards, that is.  We stayed in a condo at The Resort.  We had plenty of space, a full kitchen, and laundry facilities in the room.  The best part, in the kids' opinion, was the swimming area.  There was an indoor and outdoor mini water park.  Here are the kids hanging out in the lazy river.
Mat on the Lazy River Kade on Lazy River Meg on Lazy River
We got to the condo in time to eat dinner and splash around in the water.  Then it was time for bed.  It had been a long day.